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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

370               The Legacy to Modern Egypt
the links between the units, and disperses them into scattered
bands. So the new dispensation destroys the central ideas of
the old, and leaves only fragments which are eradicated, assimi-
lated, or left alone, according as they resist, surrender, or re-
main indifferent. Take Islam, the latest comer; it is a system
of conduct with a limited range; a great part of human activities,
such as mechanics, buying and selling, and others, lie outside its
interests, and so have not been attacked, but carry on much as
of old. The rest was often, as we shall see, revolutionized more
on the surface than in the depths.
Egypt is now a highly centralized State, so centralized that
it may be said that politically Cairo is Egypt. We know, how-
ever, from ancient records that it once consisted of two rival
kingdoms, the Upper and the Lower. It is to the Ancients we
owe the fusion; yet thousands of years of union have not com-
pletely concealed the join. Upper and Lower Egypt still form
a contrast: a Delta man penetrating beyond the no-man's-land
that lies between Cairo and Minya feels himself in a foreign
country. The differences of custom and character are sufficient
to keep the populations of north and south apart when they
meet in Cairo, leading them in different paths, the Delta folk
into the more individualistic occupations of domestic service
and shops, the more gregarious Upper Egyptians into labour
gangs on the railway, docks, and in quarries.
The manner in which these two realms have been welded into
the solid mass we now see has been preserved to us. It was
carried out in accordance with the ancient theory of kingship.
The king represented the god of the land; to acquire new lands
he had to become the god of those lands. He had to annex the
god in order to annex the country. The king of Upper Egypt
took the red crown, the abode of the goddess Buto, and added
it to his own white crown in which resided the goddess Nekhbet,
and so became the lawful ruler of the two lands. Since then the
two lands cannot long remain apart.